Russian-Designed Flying Pickup »

Well, it's not entirely new, but it's the first time this no-nonsense pickup truck of an airplane has appeared at Sun 'n Fun and in the U.S. The Discovery 201 is an offshoot of a Russian design called the Akord 201, which found some service in Russia as a heavy-hauling utility airplane. The aircraft has a pair of Continental IO-360s (210 hp each) mounted on a high wing close to the centerline, vaguely reminiscent of a PBY or a Grumman Goose. It's got a pair of clamshell doors in the back for loading heavy or large cargo and can easily accommodate more than eight feet if the rear seats are removed. Question is, what's it doing here? More

At Sun 'n Fun, Challenges, Changes, And High Hopes »

The FAA's decision to delay its tower shutdowns until June was a save for Sun 'n Fun, but the federal government still has declined to pay all the expenses of sending 50 extra controllers and 20 technicians to cope with the traffic, so the bill -- an estimated $285,000 -- is going to the Sun 'n Fun organization. "That's a pretty substantial chunk of money," Sun 'n Fun CEO John "Lites" Leenhouts told AVweb on Monday. To raise the funds, Sun 'n Fun has put together a coalition of donors in the state and local area who are pitching in to support the event. Leenhouts also said the focus of Sun 'n Fun this year is on the pilot community, with more attention to workshops and sport flying, lower ticket fees for anyone who flies in, and less emphasis on the airshow. More

Sun 'n Fun 2012: News Coverage Round-Up »

AVweb attended the 38th annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida from March 27 to April 1, 2012 and brought back an assortment of news and interviews. Click here for a handy index to all our coverage from the show, including podcasts, videos, and blogs. More

Piper J-3: A Member of the Family »

With the 75th anniversary of the Piper Cub upon us, there were lots of good Cub stories around Sun 'n Fun this year. One of our favorites, as described in this podcast with Bob Jones , is a 1946 J-3 that became a member of Jones' family for several generations. Jones' father was a duster pilot and bought the airplane from Southern Airways, which had used it as a trainer in the civil pilot training program. His Dad bought the airplane for $725. More

New Aviat Husky A1C: How to Tame Taildragger Bounce »

Any taildragger pilot who's jammed a landing -- and that's basically all of them -- will tell you that nailing three-point landings without a bounce takes practice and sometimes even that's not enough. But in the latest version of its popular utility aircraft, the Husky A1C on display at Lakeland, Aviat has added a nice little feature: The gear legs have race-car style shock absorbers that take the worst of the bite out of a landing that smacks the runway a little harder than the pilot intended. In this video, Aviat's Larry Schlaslinger gave AVweb a video tour of the airplane and we then adjourned to South Lakeland Airport for a brief flight test. More

Deltahawk Update: About to Fly in a Cirrus »

Deltahawk, the Wisconsin engine development company, continues to close in on its long-awaited goal of a workable four-cylinder aerodiesel engine. According to the company's CEO, Dennis Webb, whom AVweb interviewed at Sun 'n Fun , several companies (and the military) have test engines and programs in various states of progress, including a Cirrus SR20 test bed at LoPresti Speed Merchants. More

Redbird's Flight Lab: Good Initial Results »

Shortly after accepting the keys to a new Piper Seminole, Jerry Gregoire of Redbird Flight Simulations told AVweb that its initial results in training students with an intensively simulator-based program have proven positive. Redbird has been operating the program for a little over two months and have graduated about 20 students. Gregoire says Redbird offers the program for a flat feet of $9500 to the private pilot certificate, which he says is far less than the national average, according to Redbird's analysis of AOPA flight training cost averages. The Redbird program is not hours-based but involves training to proficiency in specific skill areas. It can also involve the student flying the simulator solo to practice maneuavers that he or she may be having trouble with. The student can also self-evaluate before moving on to the next task. More

Piper Aircraft: New Emphasis on Training »

Piper's new CEO, Simon Caldecott, says the company has had a good year in 2012 so far and looking ahead for the rest of the year and to 2013, it sees the training market as a big driver. "One of the things we're going to do is to get back into the training market in a big way," Caldecott told AVweb in this podcast at Sun 'n Fun on Wednesday . "When you look at the stand here and see that J-3 Cub there, training was the roots of Piper Aircraft and I believe that's what we need to be focused on, as well as our M-class [Mirage and Meridian] aircraft. We're going to really push hard on that and I expect to at least double our volume on trainers over the next two or three years." More

Kyle Franklin, One Year Later »

Amanda Younkin Franklin died from injuries she sustained in a crash with her husband Kyle Franklin nearly one year ago, and at the 2012 Sun 'n Fun fly-in we had the opportunity to ask Kyle how he's doing. Kyle was at the back of the airshow performers' hangar when AVweb 's Glenn Pew found him. The two spoke for about half an hour. Kyle still wears the scars on his right hand and forearm that he earned trying to free his wife from the burning forward cockpit. And two on his head where he hit the instrument panel. Most of his lesser burns have healed well. When asked about his choice to continue performing, Kyle answered, "This is what I've been doing my whole life. I don't know anything else to do. And I'm going to keep doing it." Kyle is flying this year and has plans for more work on the airshow circuit. More

Sporty's, ForeFlight Team On Wireless Weather For iPad »

At Sun 'n Fun this week, Sporty's Pilot Shop introduced Stratus, the first completely wire-free weather receiver for the iPad. The small $799 device streams information from GPS and ADS-B with no monthly subscription costs. The unit collects NEXRAD radar, text weather, TFRs and aircraft position, and wirelessly streams that data to the popular ForeFlight Mobile app for iOS devices. "Stratus delivers exactly what pilots have been asking for -- a simple, smart and subscription-free way to view in-flight weather on their iPad," said Sporty's Vice President John Zimmerman. "It's incredibly easy to use, with just one button and virtually no setup." More